Detroit, MI (April 13, 2015) – In this global auto capital that sparked automotive innovation a century ago, two Canadian universities battled for the second year in a row Sunday to see which would win the 2015 Shell Eco-marathon Americas ultra-energy-efficient student mileage challenge. In a reversal from a year ago, a University of Toronto team came from behind in the last efficiency run to edge Quebec’s Université Laval team, a perennial favorite that had won two years in a row and in five-of-the-last six years.

Toronto’s Supermileage Team 2 achieved the equivalent of 3,421 miles per gallon (mpg), besting the Quebec team’s 3,365 mpg posting in the gasoline category of the sleek Prototype class. The Quebec team held the lead over the Toronto car all day Sunday until the final run of the day..

Mater Dei High School from Evansville, Ind., the only team to unseat Laval in recent years, came in third.

This year’s 30th anniversary event drew 113 teams, representing over 1,000 high school and university students, from across the Americas – Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States. Of the teams entered this year, 51 vehicles were fielded by high schools and 62 came from universities. 

Before hitting a new and hilly track  through the streets of downtown Detroit, teams had to make tweaks and, in some cases, major adjustments to pass detailed technical and safety inspections. Indeed, of 111 teams that made it to the inspections, only 89 passed. The  track also proved challenging for student drivers who had to steer their low-slung, futuristic vehicles through sharp turns and elevation changes as spectators cheered them from the sidelines.

“A little more than 100 years ago, just two blocks away, there was a young fellow by the name of Henry Ford working on his quadricycle. He tested it on these streets where he achieved 10 to 20 mpg at the time,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “When you consider the achievements of these bright young minds, creating vehicles of the future that can travel more than 2,000 miles on a single gallon of fuel, I am amazed at the progress and inspired by what the future may hold.”

In addition to the top three top-performing vehicles—all in the gasoline Prototype category—teams entered vehicles using diesel, ethanol, electric battery, compressed natural gas, gas-to-liquids fuel and hydrogen power. Other winners:

  • Prototype diesel: The No Spark Plug Allowed team from Sullivan High School in Sullivan, Ind., for the second consecutive year, achieving 1,436 mpg. 
  • Prototype electric battery: Mater Dei High School’s Supermileage 3 car posted 449 miles per kilowatt-hour (m/kWh).
  • Prototype hydrogen fuel cell: Wheat Ridge High School, of Wheat Ridge, Colo., whose vehicle achieved 151 miles per kilowatt-hour m/kWh.
  • Prototype alternative fuels: University of Colorado Boulder surpassed Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná from Brazil, whose Tatonkatoo vehicle achieved 841 mpg using ethanol.
  • UrbanConcept diesel: The Knights 3 team from Alden-Conger High School in Alden, MN achieved 507mpg. 
  • UrbanConcept alternative fuels: A second for Alden-Conger High School, Alden-Conger Supermileage Team vehicle achieved 288 mpg.
  • UrbanConcept gasoline: Mater Dei Supermileage, of Evansville, Ind., whose vehicle achieved 484 mpg.

Recording the best fuel economy in a category wasn’t the only way to win at Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2015. Teams were also given the opportunity to compete for one or more special awards, including awards for safety, design and team spirit:

  • Safety Award: For the second consecutive year, Shopgirls, from Granite Falls High School, showed outstanding focus on their work-space cleanness and personal protective equipment for their Prototype diesel vehicle  
  • Communications Award: The Eco-Lancers, from Livingston High School in Livingston, NJ competed in the Prototype gasoline category and implemented an impressive array of communications efforts and activities to promote their Shell Eco-marathon project
  • Perseverance and team spirit award: Braham High School of Braham, MN worked diligently throughout the entire event successfully passing technical inspection with all three of their vehicles. They also took time out to help other teams while working on their vehicles. Universidad Presbiteriana Mackenzie, from Brazil, had their car arrive two days late, but they worked solidly for 14 hours to get their car ready for technical inspections. 
  • Vehicle Design Award: Alden Conger High School Supermileage team was recognized for innovative design research in terms of ergonomics and aesthetics.
  • Technical Innovation: The Duke Electric Vehicles team from Duke University demonstrated outstanding initiative and technical ingenuity along optimal use of new materials in the drive train chassis and tires. 

“This year’s event in Detroit has been everything we imagined it would be; showcasing innovation, human ingenuity, teamwork and perseverance,” said Niel Golightly, vice president of external relations for Shell Americas.

“Through the competition, together with our partners, Shell challenges future engineers to think creatively and act practically with hand-on opportunities to stretch the boundaries of energy efficiency. There is no doubt that these students have a bright future ahead and will positively shape transport and mobility in the years to come.”

The weekend event – its first in Detroit -- also included an interactive, multi-sensory experience, which drew thousands of families inside Cobo Center for a virtual journey through more than 100 years of motoring innovation and a behind-the-scenes look at student vehicles. Visitors also enjoyed various live performances and daily prizes, including a Free Fuel for a Year sweepstakes. Houston hosted the event the previous five years.

Shell Eco-marathon Americas is made possible through our Partners in Innovation: HP, Linde, Michelin, Team Penske, The Henry Ford, Southwest Resource Inc., Quicken Loans and local partners: the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of Detroit.

Shell Eco-marathon Americas will return to Detroit in 2016. For more information on all 2015 events across the globe, including the complete Americas 2015 roster, schedule and official rules, please visit the Shell Eco-marathon website at

About Shell Oil Company

Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with 93,000 employees in more than 90 countries. We deliver a diverse range of energy solutions and petrochemicals to customers worldwide. These include transporting and trading oil and gas, marketing natural gas, producing and selling fuel for ships and planes, generating electricity and providing energy efficiency advice.

We also produce and sell petrochemical building blocks to industrial customers globally, and we are investing in making renewable and lower-carbon energy sources competitive for large-scale use. In the U.S., we operate in 50 states and employ more than 20,000 people delivering energy in a responsible manner.

About Shell Eco-marathon

Shell Eco-marathon is a global program that challenges high school and college student teams to design, build and test the most energy-efficient vehicles. With annual events in the Americas, Europe and Asia, this innovation competition pushes future scientists and engineers to travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2015 will take place April 10th-12th on the streets of Downtown Detroit and is free and open to the public. Visit to learn more about this weekend of free programs for all ages.

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